Making Dollhouse Miniature Food From Polymer Clay
With Crown Jewel Miniatures
Copycats and Parrots; The Bane Of The Miniature Food Artist
They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Whoever “they” are, they lied.
Miniaturists, especially those who create miniature food, work extra hard at learning and perfecting their craft, perhaps more than most other artists. Without the benefit of miniature food-making courses at the local university and considering the new Kawaii and food jewelry craze our field has become so highly competitive that techniques for making realistic miniature food have largely become highly guarded secrets that make national security seem like the work of amateurs.
Self taught skills are hard won and copycats and parrots are always eager to capitalize on the talent of others. The Internet makes it easy for them to quickly assess what sells well and with just a few clicks of the mouse copycats and parrots can save pictures of the work of dozens of artists for reference in their workrooms. Some are even bold enough to contact the artist asking questions on how its made or what materials were used- or worse they buy it, take it apart, and try to copy it!
What is a budding miniature food artist to do?
Be original. The truth is, miniature collectors want original minis that inspire their imagination or their quest for realism. Teach yourself the basics by reading books, buying tutorials and how-to DVD’s, join a group and share techniques with others until you feel comfortable with your skill level and then use your imagination. By then you’ll have the skills necessary to copy others but is that why you went to all the trouble to learn the craft and perfect your technique? Building a successful business reputation can take years but plagiarism can destroy it in nanoseconds.
That being said, the realm of creating miniature food can be as muddy as gravy. Nobody has a copyright on a sandwich or a chicken. For hundreds of years breakfast plates have been piled high with bacon, eggs, fruit and toast. Folks will always load tea trays with sweets and chopping blocks with meat. Dinner is often served with baskets of bread and bowls of salad. The secret to success is originality and when coincidences occur, and they will, you‘ll be secure in knowing the truth.
Keep an eye on what’s trending but be yourself. Arrange your mini breakfast tray without consulting pictures of your fellow food artists, don’t worry about making your quiche look exactly like hers, or proving that you can “do that too”. Most collectors are prolific shoppers and can spot the genuine work, and imitations, of their favorite artisans at a glance and you don‘t want to risk alienating the same clients you‘re trying to attract! If you admire the work of fellow food artists and find yourself compelled to study their craft, do it with the intent of making something different! Your miniature art will stand out and you won’t need nine lives, or a good lawyer, to salvage your reputation. Use the finest quality materials you can afford and craft your art to the best of your ability. In no time you will develop your very own distinctive style and earn a following of your own.
Copycats and parrots will be green with envy. Miniature food should be like human food- fundamentally the same but unique in style and presentation.
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